In September, Panasonic released a new series of accessory LCD monitors that fit all IQ-series Palmcorders and Quasar equivalents. These 3.2-inch monitors fit on the back of the camera between the battery and the battery mounting plate, and come equipped with a swivel mount for easy viewing at almost any angle.
Officials at Matsushita (parent company of Panasonic) said the company hopes to boost the ratio of digital videocassette (DV) machines to 50% of its total sales of camcorders by the end of March 1998.
Gold Disk Inc. has recently announced the availability of VideoDirector 2.0 for the Macintosh. Like the newest version of VideoDirector for Windows, the Mac version includes a unique SmartCable that allows your computer to use either LANC (Control-L) or infrared control on the source side (past versions of the VideoDirector only allowed LANC control of the source deck).
VideoDirector for Macintosh also supports the extended videomaking capabilities of AV Macs and Quicktime-compatible boards, so users can view their video right on their Macintosh screen and capture any frame as a graphical picon.
Videonics on the move: recently, the Campbell, California company acquired Abbate Video, makers of software and cable solutions for cataloging, editing and digitizing video footage. Says Michael D'Addio, CEO of Videonics: "We view Abbate Video's software products as a cornerstone in Videonics' open solution for video post production. Their current products, which operate in both Windows and Macintosh environments for use with Adobe Premiere, provide affordable state-of- the-art solutions for personal computer users."
Then, only a few days later, Videonics made another acquisition, this time buying Nova Systems, makers of a popular line of time base correctors. With these acquisitions, Videonics promises to offer an even wider range of videomaking solutions in the near future.
The nine-month war over the digital video disc (DVD) standard is over: the Sony/Philips and Toshiba/Time-Warner camps have agreed to develop a single standard for the new technology. "The agreement looks like the best possible solution for electronics makers, users and future growth of the DVD market," said Masahiro Ono, an analyst at Yamaichi Research Institute, a private Japanese think tank.
Under the agreement, the two groups will endorse Toshiba's double-sided disc structure and error correction protocol and Sony's signal modulation protocols. Before this agreement was reached, the new technology was expected to hit the streets in June of 1996; now, owing to microchip design changes, DVD players won't be available until September 1996. And as for consumer-level DVD recorders (or possibly even camcorders), videomakers will probably have to wait at least until 1997.
The agreement is said to be a particular boon to Sony, who was in danger of losing the battle for acceptance of its format.
For those who haven't followed the DVD wars: the two competing factions have waged battles that remind many of the VHS/Beta conflict of yesteryear. The current negotiations, however, allow the industry an opportunity to offer one mutually-compatible format that's supported by both sides--a development that would be a very good thing for consumers, retailers and, in the long run, the manufacturers themselves.
What impact will the availability of video on small compact discs have in the home video industry? "Bigger than the introduction of the VCR, no doubt," says Alain Prestat, chairman of Thomson's multimedia division. "It will be the most successful consumer electronics product in the coming years."
The Los Angeles International Animation Celebration has been recognizing outstanding works in the field of animation since 1985. This year's contest will accept submissions in ten categories; entrants must submit their works on 3/4-inch, Beta or VHS tape. Deadline for entries is January 5. For more information, write to the Los Angeles International Animation Celebration, 5889 Kanan Rd., Suite 317, Agoura Hills, CA 91301; or phone (818) 991-2884.
The 37th annual International CINDY Awards will accept VHS, film or multimedia entries in 18 categories ranging from music and fashion to educational topics. Winners of the CINDY awards will be included in a traveling CINDY tour, the AVC CINDY library and regional seminars and conferences throughout the year. Submissions will be accepted throughout January of 1996. For more info, write to the AVC (Association of Visual Communicators), 8130 La Mesa Blvd, Suite 406, La Mesa, CA 91941-6437; or phone (619) 461-1600.
The next consumer electronics manufacturer to offer a DV camcorder will probably be JVC. The company showed a prototype model at a September trade show in Europe--a compact, lightweight unit with an extendable viewfinder. JVC will likely release their first DV camcorder in Japan late in 1995, with US release to follow a few months thereafter.
How can the camcorder help to maintain the health and well-being of our national parks?
A joint effort by The National Park Foundation and The National Park Service may have the answer. The two organizations will make use of cameras, binoculars and camcorders donated by Canon USA to inventory and monitor the health of our wilderness resources.
In the first phase of this 18-month program, volunteers will use the donated equipment to catalog a number of plant, animal and paleontological resources in 20 parks nationwide. Specific projects include: an inventory of 28 species in California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area; research on the impact of urban development in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Los Angeles; an inventory of paleontological resources in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave; and a study of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, found on Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.
"At a time when federal budgets are strained, Canon USA's timely commitment to the National Parks provides means to help us define precisely what needs to be done and to get some of it fixed," says Roger G. Kennedy, Director of the National Park Service. "Without Canon USA's support, important projects would not be taking place."
Canon's donation (which exceeds $1 million dollars in funds and a large amount of equipment) is the largest ever corporate conservation gift to the National Park Foundation.
They Smoke Pot on Television?
It seems that the availability of public and leased access channels has spawned every sort of special interest programming.
For example, there's Hemp tee V, a San Francisco-based show that focuses on news, facts and current events surrounding the worldwide use of marijuana. The show's hosts--a diverse group of artists and actors--started Hemp tee V over a year and a half ago, hoping to make use of the local cable access channels to entertain themselves and others. Now, over twenty-nine episodes later, the show has covered a large number of issues and events, including decriminalization of marijuana in Germany, the international conference on drug policy reform, National Marijuana Day and the Hemp Expo in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Sound like something that might be popular in the city by the bay? This just goes to prove the adage that the appeal of most cable access TV shows is local, not national. Nonetheless, Hemp tee V is planning to go national with their programming; they're currently negotiating with several cable companies to reach a wider audience.
To learn more about Hemp tee V, call (415) 522-9288.
11th Annual Visions of U.S. Winners
Some may think that it's next to impossible to make the leap from amateur videomaker to Hollywood director. Not so Anthony Sapienza, 30, and Antonio Panetta, 31, grand prize winners of the 11th annual Visions of U.S. home video contest.
Their winning entry, "Veramente (Truly) Peppinello," is a humorous fiction about a 70-year-old bachelor and his quest for true love through a video dating service. Sapienza directed the work, while Panetta played the role of cinematographer. The project was low-budget from beginning to end; the two young videomakers cast their friends and relatives in the work and used a budget of "good Italian bread, a few pounds of provolone and some bottles of wine." The title character was played by Anthony Sapienza's uncle Joe, a 72-year-old retired Brooklyn bus driver.
After the contest, the winners enjoyed an evening of good Italian food and wine with one of their favorite directors, Francis Ford Coppola, at his Marin county home. The topic of conversation was the distribution of their first feature film, "My Friend Fellini," through Coppola's production company American Zoetrope. Production of the film will begin in December 1995 in Brooklyn, Manhattan and New York.
Spotlighting originality and creativity, the Visions of U.S. home video contest is sponsored by Sony Electronics and administered by the American Film Institute. This year's judges included Tim Allen, star of the ABC television series "Home Improvement" (and himself the Visions winner in 1985 for his non- fiction video "The Last Days of Mojay Lake"); Academy award winning producer, director and writer Francis Ford Coppola; "City Slickers" director Ron Underwood; Henry Thomas, who starred in "E.T." and "Legends of the Fall;" Lesli Linka Glatter, director of Demi Moore's upcoming movie "Now and Then;" Lisa Ann Walter, stand-up comedienne and co-star of Whoopi Goldberg's upcoming movie "Eddie;" Allison Anders, director of "Mi Vida Loca;" and "Party of Five" star Scott Wolfe.
Other winners in this year's contest include "Circus of the Sexes #4," part of Texas videomaker Randy Clower's ongoing series of shorts dealing with the bizzare twists and turns of relationships; Mahrnaz Saeed-Vafa's "A Tajik Woman," a documentary that reflects several Islamic women's personal experiences with being a Muslim in America; and "Chip," an animated short about the homesickness of a chocolate chip cookie, created by 16-year-old videomaker Nathan Sterner.
Could one of your videos land you a contract with Francis Ford Coppola? It could indeed, if you've got what it takes to rise above the competition. The deadline for the next Visions of U.S. Home Video contest is June 15, 1996, so get out your video gear and start taping your masterpiece today.
by David Brott
Desktop Video Studio
Andrew Soderberg and Tom Hudson (1995, Random House, 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022; 432 pp., Mac or IBM CD-ROM, $40)
This is a book and CD-ROM package that covers desktop video production for broadcast and
multimedia. Desktop Video Studio offers expert advice on setting up a DTV system using Apple
QuickTime, Apple Media Tool, HyperCard, Macromedia Director, Adobe Premiere and other applications.
In addition, Studio provides tutorials on digital video technology, cross-platform issues, file
formats and compression choices.
Authors Soderberg and Hudson offer professional guidance on capturing, producing and preparing video for videotape and multimedia. In addition to advanced tips and techniques, the included CD-ROM contains interactive tutorials to complement concepts described in the book.
Desktop Video Studio is easy to understand, offering a great introduction to desktop video production that both beginners and professionals will appreciate. 4
The Prosumer Video Sourcebook
(B&H Photo Video, 119 West 17th Street, Dept. 9925, New York, NY 10011; 175 pp., no charge)
The Prosumer Video Sourcebook is an extensive catalog that covers the most current video
production gear on the market. From desktop video to camcorders, it summarizes a variety of video
products in an easy-to-read format.
You could almost call Sourcebook a videomaker's encyclopedia. The catalog consists of six sections including camcorders; accessories; VCRs and monitors; video editing and desktop video; video and electronic imaging and instructional books and tapes. The B& H catalog's primary purpose is to detail product specs and applications, but it also features charts, photos and other informational graphics.
The Prosumer Video Sourcebook is a good source of product information for anyone involved in videomaking. Keep in mind, however, that this is a catalog--while reasonably comprehensive, B&H has opted to both omit and spotlight certain products. For the more advanced videomaker, B&H also offers a 446-page Professional Video Sourcebook. Both catalogs are free; you pay only $2.95 each for postage and handling. 4
Leased Access Profit TV
Brent Conrad (1995, APV Instructional Video Series, 1000 Whitetail Court, Duncansville, PA 16635; 50 min., $29.95)
Here's a tape that describes the very basics of that often misunderstood distribution outlet--leased access
TV. Leased Access Profit TV looks at a number of different leased access TV programs, offering
general explanations about their promotional strategies.
This tape outlines a start-up plan for cashing in on commercial leased access programming. Narrator and APV (Association of Professional Videographers) co-founder Brent Conrad covers topics ranging from pre-production planning to promotional advertising concepts. Leased Access also mentions specific program ideas; these offer direction for the videomaker who is ready to step into the world of leased access television.
This is a good introductory tape, but it doesn't cover the more detailed rules and regulations governing leased access. Even if you have a good program concept, you'll still need to have a very thorough understanding of the leased access rules. If you study up on the regulations elsewhere, this tape offers a good number of program examples for the beginner. 3
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